Openers Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton have pulled out of the two-day practice game between New Zealand XI and the visiting Indians ahead of the two-match Test series next month.
The practice game will be played at Whangarei on February 2-3 before the Test series begins on February 6 in Auckland.
Fulton and Rutherford decided to pull out in favour of playing for their provinces in the Plunket Shield, New Zealand's domestic first class championships, a media report said.
Canterbury's George Worker has been called in as one replacement, with New Zealand Cricket's general manager national selection Bruce Edgar saying that the other would need to first pass a fitness test.
According to the Fairfax NZ News report, Edgar said Fulton and Rutherford must have felt that it would be better to play in their domestic first class championships as the two-day practice game against India would be just a one-innings affair and thus would lack intensity.
"This match (Feb 2-3 practice game), because it's a non-first class game and pretty much a practice game, will be a single-innings affair," said Edgar.
"On reflection, Peter Fulton and also Hamish Rutherford are now going to play Plunket Shield because they certainly have a chance to maybe get two innings instead of one."
Talking particularly about Fulton, he said, "He also played in the New Zealand XI game against the West Indies (at Lincoln in November) and felt, perhaps, the intensity wasn't quite there."
In that practice match, a handful of West Indian players were joined by New Zealand provincial players to make up 11 players. The bulk of the West Indian squad were still touring India at that time in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell Test series.
Image: Hamish Rutherford (left) and Peter Fulton in action.
Photograph: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images